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Full text of "The last will and testament of George Washington and schedule of his property : to which is appended the last will and testament of Martha Washington"

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The University of Connecticut 
Libraries, Storrs 

hbl.stx E 312.99 1939 

Last will and testament of George 

3 T1S3 DDhE53flH 5 w 


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Last Will and Testament 


Schedule of his Property , 

#> # # 

to which is appended 


Last Will and Testament 


Edited by 

Published by 


Copyright, 1939, by 
The Mount Vernon Ladies* Association of the Union 


The Last Will and Testament of George 
Washington was first printed for public distri- 
bution in Alexandria, Virginia, in the year 1800. 
Little attention was paid in that publication to the 
spelling, punctuation and manuscript peculiarities 
of the original and, though the Will has been pub- 
lished many times since 1800, few of these re-pub- 
lications have been more scrupulously exact. 

The first publication for distribution at Mount 
Vernon was made in 1868 by Mr. A. Jackson, of 
Washington, D. C, for whom the printing was 
done by Samuel Polkinhorn. This publisher's pref- 
ace was dated at Fairfax Court House, Virginia, 
where the original Will was then, and is now, 

The present publication by the Mount Vernon 
Ladies' Association of the Union follows the 
Jackson imprint, carefully corrected against a fac- 
simile of the manuscript text of the original Will 
in Callahan's Washington the Man and the Mason, 
for spelling, punctuation and capitalization, disre- 
garding only the manuscript line length which 
forms an unusual and impressive chirographic pic- 
ture, but is exceedingly difficult to reproduce in 
type. In the manuscript the lines are carefully 
spaced and are of uniform length, dashes or waved 
strokes completing the lines where words would not 


quite fill out, and end-words are deliberately sepa- 
rated, without regard to their syllabic structure, to 
maintain an uniform right-hand margin. The note 
numbers are not, of course, in the original Will. 

Washington's Will is twenty-eight and one-third 
pages long, on paper approximately 8^x6^ 
inches in size. Written on both sides of the sheets 
and each page numbered by him, it is therefore a 
document of fifteen sheets and, being on his own 
specially made paper, bore his watermark in the 
center of each full-size sheet; these being quar- 
tered, to the mentioned size, bare in the corners 
quadrants of this water-mark. This special paper 
was first made for Washington in the 1790's; and 
the watermark is indicative of the man, as it was the 
draped figure of the goddess of agriculture, seated 
upon a plough, holding in one hand a staff sur- 
mounted with the Liberty Cap, and in the other 
a flowering twig; a broad band encircles the fig- 
ure, within which is the name : GEORGE WASH- 
INGTON; at the top of the band is a simplified 
version of the Washington crest, facing to the 

Each of the twenty-nine pages of the Will, with 
one exception, is signed by Washington, immedi- 
ately below the center of the last line but there is 
no means of knowing positively whether these sig- 
natures were written as each page was copied, or 
whether all were affixed at one time, after the 
entire Will was finished. The failure to sign page 


23 is evidence either way, though the separation 
of words at the end of some of the pages rather 
mihtates against the probability of each page hav- 
ing been signed as finished. The last word on page 
twenty- three is the word "Washington" which 
may explain the omitted signature, as inducing 
the belief that the page had been signed. An al- 
most identical inadvertency is found in the gene- 
alogical record, copied out by Washington for Sir 
Isaac Heard in 1792. There he writes that Au- 
gustine Washington (his father) "then married 
Ball", inadvertently omitting his mother's Chris- 
tian name "Mary", undoubtedly from its close 
similarity in sound to the word "married" which 
preceded the name "Ball". 

There were two Wills existent when Washing- 
ton was stricken with his fatal illness, and it is 
possible that one of these was the Will made in 
Philadelphia in the year 1775, just before the Gen- 
eral started for Cambridge to take command of 
the Continental Army; but we have small grounds 
of surmise as to the provisions of the destroyed 
instrument or the date of its making. One of 
Lear's accounts of Washington's death relates that 
the General sent Mrs. Washington down to "his 
room" (the library) to get two Wills from his 
desk. He selected one, which he said was worth- 
less and requested her to burn it, which she did; 
the other (the Will herewith) Mrs. Washington 
placed in her closet. 


Washington died, Saturday night, December 
14, 1799, between ten and eleven o'clock, and his 
Will was probated in the County Court of Fairfax, 
then holden in Alexandria, January 10, 1800. By 
a peculiar combination of circumstances the Will 
was thus probated within the boundaries of the 
seat of government of the Nation which George 
Washington had contributed so largely to create 
and found; Alexandria being then (and until the 
year 1801) in the District of Columbia, and not 
in either Virginia or Fairfax County. 

The Will, which is followed by the "Schedule 
of property" comprehended therein, is entirely in 
Washington's writing and was drawn up by him 
without legal aid of any kind. It is interesting in 
this connection to note that in Washington's youth- 
ful school exercises there is carefully copied out 
a "Form of a Short Will" with a note of the differ- 
ences that should be incorporated in a will made 
in England and one made by an Englishman in 

The Will has been more or less damaged by 
time and ignorant handling; but the greatest in- 
jury developed from its having been folded verti- 
cally down the middle when it was placed in an 
envelope in 1861, by the then Clerk of Fairfax 
County, and taken to Richmond to preserve it 
from the Union troops. The wisdom of this pre- 
caution was amply attested by what happened to 
the Will of Martha Washington, which was left in 


Fairfax Court House. The folding was responsi- 
ble for a weakening of the paper along the fold 
and the damage gradually spread until nearly 
every leaf broke into two pieces. The first and 
second leaves of the Will became badly mutilated 
and the last leaf of Washington's "Notes" to the 
"Schedule of property" also lost many words of 
the written text. After the war, when the Will 
was returned to the Court House from Richmond, 
some pious, but misguided attempts were made to 
arrest the disintegration, the most startling of 
which was the sewing together of the broken leaves 
with needle and thread. In 1919, under the au- 
spices of the Court, the Will was scientifically re- 
paired and inlaid in the most approved manner 
by the chief manuscript repairer of the Library of 
Congress, mounted and handsomely bound as a 
solid volume. It is now preserved in a specially 
constructed, steel exhibition case, bolted to the 
wall of the vault in Fairfax County Court House. 

John C. Fitzpatrick. 


In the name of God amen 

I George Washington of Mount Vernon — a citi- 
zen of the United States, — and lately President 
of the same, do make, ordain and declare this 
Instrument ; which is written with my own hand 
and every page thereof subscribed with my 
name, to be my last Will & Testament, revo- 
king all others. 

Imprimus. All my debts, of which there are 
but few, and none of magnitude, are to be punc- 
tually and speedily paid — and the Legacies 
hereinafter bequeathed, are to be discharged as 
soon as circumstances will permit, and in the 
manner directed — 

Item. To my dearly beloved wife Martha Wash- 
ington^ I give and bequeath the use, profit and 
benefit of my whole Estate,^ real and personal, 
for the term of her natural life — except such 
parts thereof as are specifically disposed of 
hereafter: — My improved lot in the Town of 
Alexandria, situated on Pitt & Cameron Streets,^ 
I give to her and her heirs forever, as I also 
do my 


household & Kitchen furniture of every sort & 
kind, with the Uquors and groceries which may- 
be on hand at the time of my decease; to be 
used & disposed of as she may think proper. 

Item Upon the decease of my wife, it is my Will 
& desire that all the Slaves which I hold in my 
own right, shall receive their freedom. — To 
emancipate them during her life, would, tho' 
earnestly wished by me, be attended with such 
insuperable difficulties on account of their inter- 
mixture by Marriages with the Dower Negroes,* 
as to excite the most painful sensations, if not 
disagreeable consequences from the latter, while 
both descriptions are in the occupancy of the 
same Proprietor; it not being in my power, 
under the tenure by which the Dower Negros 
are held, to manumit them. — And whereas 
among those who will recieve freedom accord- 
ing to this devise, there may be some, who from 
old age or bodily infirmities, and others who on 
account of their infancy, that will be unable 
to support themselves; it is my Will and desire 
that all who come under the first & second de- 
scription shall be comfortably cloathed & fed 
by my heirs while they live; — and 




that such of the latter description as have no 
parents Hving, or if Hving are unable, or un- 
willing to provide for them, shall be bound by 
the Court until they shall arrive at the age of 
twenty five years; — and in cases where no rec- 
ord can be produced, whereby their ages can 
be ascertained, the judgment of the Court upon 
its own view of the subject, shall be adequate 
and final. — The Negros thus bound, are (by 
their Masters or Mistresses) to be taught to 
read & write; and to be brought up to some 
useful occupation, agreeably to the Laws of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the 
support of Orphan and other poor Children. — 
And I do hereby expressly forbid the Sale, or 
transportation out of the said Commonwealth, 
of any Slave I may die possessed of, under any 
pretence whatsoever. — And I do moreover most 
pointedly, and most solemnly enjoin it upon my 
Executors hereafter named, or the Survivors of 
them, to see that this clause respecting Slaves, 
and every part thereof be religiously fulfilled at 
the Epoch at which it is directed to take place; 
without evasion, neglect or delay, after the 
Crops which may then be on the ground are 
harvested, particularly as it respects 


the aged and infirm; — Seeing that a regular 
and permanent fund be estabHshed for their 
Support so long as there are subjects requiring 
it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to be 
made by individuals.^ — And to my Mulatto man 
William (calling himself William Lee)^ I give 
immediate freedom; or if he should prefer it 
(on account of the accidents which have be- 
fallen him, and which have rendered him inca- 
pable of walking or of any active employment) 
to remain in the situation he now is, it shall be 
optional in him to do so: In either case how- 
ever, I allow him an annuity of thirty dollars 
during his natural life, which shall be independ- 
ent of the victuals and cloaths he has been 
accustomed to receive, if he chuses the last alter- 
native; but in full, with his freedom, if he pre- 
fers the first; — & this I give him as a testimony 
of my sense of his attachment to me, and for 
his faithful services during the Revolutionary 

Item To the Trustees (Governors, or by what- 
soever other name they may be designated) of 
the Academy in the Town of Alexandria,^ I give 
and bequeath, in Trust, four thousand dollars, 
or in other words twenty of the shares which I 



hold in the Bank of Alexandria, towards the 
support of a Free school established at, and an- 
nexed to, the said Academy; for the purpose of 
Educating such Orphan children, or the chil- 
dren of such other poor and indigent persons as 
are unable to accomplish it with their own 
means; and who, in the judgment of the Trus- 
tees of the said Seminary, are best entitled to 
the benefit of this donation. — The aforesaid 
twenty shares I give & bequeath in perpetuity; 
— the dividends only of which are to be drawn 
for, and applied by the said Trustees for the 
time being, for the uses above mentioned; — the 
stock to remain entire and untouched; unless 
indications of a failure of the said Bank should 
be so apparent, or a discontinuance thereof 
should render a removal of this fund necessary; 
— in either of these cases, the amount of the 
Stock here devised, is to be vested in some other 
Bank or public Institution, whereby the interest 
may with regularity & certainby^ be drawn, 
and applied as above. — And to prevent miscon- 
ception, my meaning is, and is hereby declared 
to be, that these twenty shares are in lieu of, and 
not in addition to, the thousand pounds given 
by a missive letter^ some years ago; in conse- 
quence whereof an an- 



nuity of fifty pounds has since been paid towards 
the support of this Institution 

Item Whereas by a Law of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia, enacted in the year 1 785, the Leg- 
islature thereof was pleased (as a an evidence of 
Its approbation of the services I had rendered 
the Public during the Revolution — and partly, 
I believe, in consideration of my having sug- 
gested the vast advantages which the Commu- 
nity would derive from the extension of its In- 
land Navigation, under Legislative patronage ) to 
present me with one hundred shares of one hun- 
dred dollars each, in the incorporated company 
established for the purpose of extending the 
navigation of James River from tide water to 
the Mountains : and also with fifty shares of one 
hundred pounds Sterling each, in the Corpora- 
tion of another company, likewise established 
for the similar purpose of opening the Naviga- 
tion of the River Potomac from tide water to 
Fort Cumberland;" the acceptance of which, 
although the offer was highly honourable, and 
grateful to my feelings, was refused, as incon- 
sistent with a principle which I had adop 




ted, and had never departed from — namely — 
not to receive pecuniary compensation for any 
services I could render my country in its arduous 
struggle with great Britain, for its Rights; and 
because I had evaded similar propositions from 
other States in the Union; — adding to this re- 
fusal, however, an intimation that, if it should 
be the pleasure of the Legislature to permit me 
to appropriate the said shares to public uses, 
I would receive them on those terms with due 
sensibility; — and this it having consented to, in 
flattering terms, as will appear by a subsequent 
Law, and sundry resolutions, in the most ample 
and honourable manner, I proceed after this 
recital, for the more correct understanding of 
the case, to declare — 

That as it has always been a source of serious 
regret with me, to see the youth of these United 
States sent to foreign Countries for the purpose 
of Education, often before their minds were 
formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas 
of the happiness of their own; — contracting, too 
frequently, not only habits of dissipation & ex- 
travagence, but principles unfriendly to Repub- 
lican Governmt. and to the true & genuine lib- 



of mankind; which, thereafter are rarely over- 
come. — For these reasons, it has been my ardent 
wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale 
which would have a tendency to sprd. syste- 
mactic ideas through all parts of this rising Em- 
pire, thereby to do away local attachments and 
State prejudices, as far as the nature of things 
would, or indeed ought to admit, from our 
National Councils. — Looking anxiously forward 
to the accomplishment of so desirable an object 
as this is (in my estimation) my mind has not 
been able to contemplate any plan more likely 
to effect the measure than the establishment of 
a UNIVERSITY" in a central part of the 
United States, to which the youth of fortune 
and talents from all parts thereof might be sent 
for the completion of their Education in all the 
branches of polite literature; — in arts and 
Sciences, — in acquiring knowledge in the prin- 
ciples of Politics and good Government;- — and 
(as a matter of infinite Importance in my judg- 
ment) by associating with each other, and form- 
ing friendships in Juvenile years, be enabled to 
free themselves in a proper degree from those 
local prejudices and habi- 



tual jealousies which have just been mentioned; 
and which, when carried to excess, are never 
failing sources of disquietude to the Public 
mind, and pregnant of mischievous conse- 
quences to this Country : — Under these impres- 
sions, so fully dilated. 

Item I give and bequeath in perpetuity the fifty 
shares which I hold in the Potomac Company 
(under the aforesaid Acts of the Legislature of 
Virginia) towards the endowment of a UNI- 
VERSITY to be established within the limits 
of the District of Columbia, under the auspices 
of the General Government, if that government 
should incline to extend a fostering hand towards 
it; — and until such Seminary is established, and 
the funds arising on these shares shall be re- 
quired for its support, my further Will & desire 
is that the profit accruing therefrom shall, 
whenever the dividends are made, be laid out 
in purchasing Stock in the Bank of Columbia, 
or some other Bank, at the discretion of my 
Executors; or by the Treasurer of the United 
States for the time being under the direction of 
Congress; provided that Honourable body 



Patronize the measure, and the Dividends pro- 
ceeding from the purchase of such Stock is to 
be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum 
adequate to the accompUshment of the object 
is obtained, of which I have not the smallest 
doubt, before many years passes away; even if 
no aid or encouraged is given by Legislative 
authority, or from any other source 

Item The hundred shares which I held in the 
James River Company, I have given, and now 
confirm in perpetuity to, and for the use & bene- 
fit of Liberty-Hall Academy,^^ in the County of 
Rockbridge, in the Commonwealth of Virga. 

Item I release exonerate and discharge, the 
Estate of my deceased brother Samuel Wash- 
ington, from the payment of the money which 
is due to me for the Land I sold to Philip Pendle- 
ton (lying in the County of Berkeley) who as- 
signed the same to him the said Samuel; who, 
by agreement was to pay me therefor. — ^And 
whereas by some contract (the purport of which 
was never communicated to me) between the 
said Samuel and his son Thornton Washington, 
the latter became possessed of the aforesaid 
Land, without 


any conveyance having passed from me, either 
to the said Pendleton, the said Samuel, or the 
said Thornton, and without any consideration 
having been made, by which neglect neither the 
legal nor equitable title has been alienated; — it 
rests therefore with me to declare my intentions 
concerning the Premises — and these are, to give 
& bequeath the said land to whomsoever the 
said Thornton Washington (who is also dead) 
devised the same; or to his heirs forever if he 
died Intestate: — Exonorating the estate of the 
said Thornton, equally with that of the said 
Samuel from payment of the purchase money; 
which, with Interest; agreeably to the original 
contract with the said Pendleton, would amount 
to more than a thousand pounds. — ^And whereas 
two other Sons of my said deceased brother 
Samuel — namely, George Steptoe Washington 
and Lawrence Augustine Washington, were, by 
the decease of those to whose care they were 
committed, brought under my protection, and 
in conseqe. have occasioned advances on my 
part for their Education" at College, and other 
Schools, for their board — cloathing — and other 
incidental expences, to the amount of near 



five thousand dollars over and above the Sums 
furnished by their Estate wch — Sum may be 
inconvenient for them, or their fathers Estate 
to refund. I do for these reasons acquit them, 
and the said estate, from the payment thereof. 
— My intention being, that all accounts between 
them and me, and their fathers estate and me 
shall stand balanced. — 

Item The balance due to me from the Estate of 
Bartholomew Dandridge deceased (my wife's 
brother) and which amounted on the first day 
of October 1795 to four hundred and twenty 
five pounds (as will appear by an account ren- 
dered by his deceased son John Dandridge, who 
was the acting Exr. of his fathers Will) I release 
& acquit from the payment thereof. — And the 
Negros, then thirty three in number) formerly 
belonging to the said estate, who were taken in 
execution — sold — and purchased in on my ac- 
count in the year and ever since have 
remained in the possession, and to the use of 
Mary, Widow of the said Bartholomew Dand- 
ridge, with their increase, it is my Will & desire 
shall continue, & be in her possession, without 
paying hire, or ma 


king compensation for the same for the time 
past or to come, during her natural Hfe; at the 
expiration of which, I direct that all of them 
who are forty years old & upwards, shall receive 
their freedom; all under that age and above 
sixteen, shall serve seven years and no longer; 
and all under sixteen years, shall serve until 
they are twenty five years of age, and then be 
free. — And to avoid disputes respecting the 
ages of any of these Negros, they are to be taken 
to the Court of the County in which they re- 
side, and the judgment thereof, in this relation 
shall be final ; and a record thereof made ; which 
may be adduced as evidence at any time there- 
after, if disputes should arise concerning the 
same. — ^And I further direct, that the heirs of 
the said Bartholomew Dandridge shall, equally, 
share the benefits arising from the Services of 
the said negros according to the tenor of this 
devise, upon the decease of their Mother. 

Item If Charles Carter who intermarried with 
my niece Betty Lewis^* is not sufficiently secured 
in the title to the lots he had of me in the Town 
of Fredericksburgh, it is my Will & desire that 
my Executors shall make such conveyances 




of them as the Law requires, to render it per- 
fect. — 

Item To my Nephew William Augustine Wash- 
ington^" and his heirs (if he should conceive 
them to be objects worth prosecuting) and to 
his heirs/^ — a lot in the Town of Manchester 
(opposite to Richmond) No 265 drawn on my 
sole account, and also the tenth of one or two, 
hundred acre lots, and two or three half acre 
lots in the City, and vicinity of Richmond, 
drawn in partnership with nine others, all 
in the lottery of the deceased William Byrd" 
are given — as is also a lot which I purchased of 
John Hood, conveyed by William Willie and 
Samuel Gordon Trustees of the said John Hood, 
numbered 1 39 in the Town of Edinburgh, in the 
County of Prince George, State of Virginia 

Item To my Nephew Bushrod Washington,^® I 
give and bequeath all the Papers in my posses- 
sion, which relate to my Civel and Military 
Administration of the affairs of this Country; — I 
leave to him also, such of my private Papers as 
are worth preserving; — and at the decease of 
wife, and before — if she is not inclined to retain 
them, I give and bequeath my library of Books, 
and Pamphlets of every kind. — 


Item Having sold Lands which I possessed in 
the State of Pennsylvania, and part of a tract 
held in equal right with George Clinton, late 
Governor of New York, in the State of New 
York; — ^my share of land, & interest, in the 
Great Dismal Swamp,^® and a tract of land 
which I owned in the County of Gloucester;^" — 
withholding the legal titles thereto, until the 
consideration money should be paid. — And hav- 
ing moreover leased, & conditionally sold (as 
will appear by the tenor of the said leases) all 
my lands upon the Great Kanhawa,'^^ and a 
tract upon Difficult Run," in the county of 
Loudoun, it is my Will and direction, that 
whensoever the Contracts are fully, & respec- 
tively complied with, according to the spirit, 
true intent & meaning thereof, on the part of 
the purchasers, their heirs or Assigns, that then, 
and in that case. Conveyances are to be made, 
agreeably to the terms of the said Contracts; 
and the money arising therefrom, when paid, to 
be vested in Bank stock ; the dividends whereof, 
as of that also wch — is already vested therein, is 
to inure to my said Wife during her life — but 
the Stock itself is to remain, & 


be subject to the general distribution hereafter 

Item To the Earl of Buchan I recommit "the 
Box made of the Oak that sheltered the Great 
Sir William Wallace after the battle of Fal- 
kirk"^^ presented to me by his Lordship, in 
terms too flattering for me to repeat, — ^with a 
request "to pass it, on the event of my decease, 
to the man in my country, who should appear 
to merit it best, upon the same conditions 
that have induced him to send it to me." 
Whether easy, or not, to select the man who 
might comport with his Lordships opinion in 
this respect, is not for me to say; but conceiving 
that no disposition of this valuable curiosity can 
be more eligable than the re-commitment of it 
to his own Cabinet, agreeably to the original 
design of the Goldsmiths Company of Eden- 
burgh, who presented it to him, and at his re- 
quest, consented that it should be transfered to 
me ; I do give & bequeath the same to his Lord- 
ship, and in case of his decease, to his heir with 
my grateful thanks for the distinguished honour 
of presenting it to me; and more especially for 
the favourable sentiments 



with which he accompanied it. 

Item To my brother Charles Washington I give 
& bequeath the gold headed Cane left me by 
Doctr. Franklin in his Will.^* — I add nothing 
to it, because of the ample provision I have 
made for his Issue. — To the acquaintances and 
friends of my Juvenile years, Lawrence Wash- 
ington & Robert Washington of Chotanck,^^ I 
give my other two gold headed Canes, having 
my Arms engraved on them; and to each (as 
they will be useful where they live) I leave one 
of the Spy-glasses which constituted part of my 
equipage during the late War. — To my com- 
patriot in arms, and old & intimate friend Doctr. 
Craik,^^ I give my Bureau (or as the Cabinet 
makers call it, Tambour Secretary) and the 
circular chair — an appendage of my Study. — 
To Doctor David Stuart" I give my large shav- 
ing & dressing Table, and my Telescope. — To 
the Reverend, now Bryan, Lord Fairfax,^® I give 
a Bible in three large folio volumes, with notes, 
presented to me by the Right reverend Thomas 
Wilson, Bishop of Sodor & Man. — To General 
de la Fayette^^ I give a pair of finely wrought 
steel Pistols, taken from the enemy in the Revo- 
lutionary War. — To my Sisters in law 


Hannah Washington & Mildred Washington, 
— to my friends Eleanor Stuart, Hannah Wash- 
ington of Fairfield, and Elizabeth Washington 
of Hayfield,^" I give, each, a mourning Ring of 
the value of one hundred dollars. — These be- 
quests are not made for the intrinsic value of 
them, but as mementos of my esteem & regard. 
— To Tobias Lear,^^ I give the use of the Farm 
which he now holds, in virtue of a Lease from 
me to him and his deceased wife (for and dur- 
ing their natural lives) free from Rent, during 
his life; — at the expiration of which, it is to be 
disposed as is hereinafter directed. — To Sally B. 
Haynie^^ (a distant relation of mine) I give and 
bequeath three hundred dollars — To Sarah 
Green daughter of the deceased Thomas Bishop, 
and to Ann Walker daughter of Jno. Alton,^^ 
also deceased, I give, each one hundred dollars, 
in consideration of the attachment of their 
fathers to me, each of whom having lived nearly 
forty years in my family. — To each of my 
Nephews, William Augustine Washington, 
George Lewis, George Steptoe Washington, 
Bushrod Washington and Samuel Washington, 
I give one of the Swords or Cutteaux of which 
I may die pos 


sessed;^* and they are to chuse in the order they 
are named. — These Swords are accompanied 
with an injunction not to unsheath them for the 
purpose of shedding blood, except it be for self 
defence, or in defence of their Country and its 
rights; and in the latter case, to keep them un- 
sheathed, and prefer falling with them in their 
hands, to the relinquishment thereof 

And now 

Having gone through these specific devises, with 
explanations for the more correct understanding 
of the meaning and design of them; I proceed 
to the distribution of the more important parts 
of my Estate, in manner following — 

First To my Nephew Bushrod Washington and 
his heirs (partly in consideration of an intima- 
tion to his deceased father^^ while we were 
Bachelors, & he had kindly undertaken to super- 
intend my Estate during my Military Services 
in the former War between Great Britain & 
France, that if I should fall therein. Mount 
Vernon^® (then less extensive in domain than 
at present) should become his property) I give 
and bequeath all that part thereof which is 



ded within the following limits — viz — Begin- 
ning at the ford of Dogue run, near my Mill, 
and extending along the road, and bounded 
thereby as it now goes, & ever has gone since my 
recollection of it, to the ford of little hunting 
Creek at the Gum spring until it comes to a 
knowl, opposite to an old road which formerly 
passed through the lower field of Muddy hole 
Farm; at which, on the north side of the said 
road are three red, or Spanish Oaks marked as 
a corner, and a stone placed. — thence by a line 
of trees to be marked, rectangular to the back 
line, or outer boundary of the tract between 
Thomson Mason" & myself. — thence with that 
line Easterly (now double ditching with a Post 
& Rail fence thereon) to the run of little hunt- 
ing Creek. — thence with that run which is the 
boundary between the Lands of the late Hum- 
phrey Peake^® and me, to the tide water of the 
said Creek; thence by that water to Potomac 
River. — thence with the River to the mouth of 
Dogue Creek. — and thence with the said Dogue 
Creek to the place of beginning at the aforesaid 
ford; containing upwards of four thousand 
Acres, be the same more or less — together with 
the Mansion house 



and all other buildings and improvemts. there- 
Second In consideration of the consanguinity 
between them and my wife, being as nearly re- 
lated to her as to myself, as on account of the 
affection I had for, and the obligation I was 
under to, their father when living, who from 
his youth had attached himself to my person, 
and followed my fortunes through the viscissi- 
tudes of the late Revolution^^ — afterwards de- 
voting his time to the Superintendence of my 
private concerns for many years, whilst my pub- 
lic employments rendered it impracticable for 
me to do it myself, thereby affording me essen- 
tial Services, and always performing them in a 
manner the most felial and respectful — for these 
reasons I say, I give and bequeath to George 
Fayette Washington, and Lawrence Augustine 
Washington and their heirs, my Estate East of 
little hunting Creek, — lying on the River Po- 
tomac; — including the Farm of 360 Acres, 
Leased to Tobias Lear as noticed before, and 
containing in the whole, by Deeds, Two thou- 
sand and Seventy seven acres — be it more or 
less. — Which said Estate it is my Will and de- 
sire should be equitably, & advantageously di- 
vided between them, according to quantity, 
quality & other circumstances when 


the youngest shall have arrived at the age of 
twenty one years, by three judicious and disin- 
terested men; — one to be chosen by each of the 
brothers, and the third by these two. — In the 
meantime, if the termination of my wife's in- 
terest therein should have ceased, the profits 
arising therefrom are to be applied for thir 
joint uses and benefit. 

Third And whereas it has always been my in- 
tention, since my expectation of having Issue 
has ceased, to consider the Grand children of 
my wife in the same light as I do my own rela- 
tions, and to act a friendly part by them; more 
especially by the two whom we have reared 
from their earliest infancy — ^namely — Eleanor 
Parke Custis, & George Washington Parke Cus- 
tis.*'* And whereas the former of these hath 
lately intermarried with Lawrence Lewis, a son 
of my deceased Sister Betty Lewis, by which 
union the inducement to provide for them both 
has been increased; — Wherefore, I give & be- 
queath to the said Lawrence Lewis & Eleanor 
Parke Lewis, his wife, and their heirs, the resi- 
due of my Mount Vernon Estate, not already 
devised to my Nephew Bushrod Washington, — 
comprehended within the fol- 



lowing description/^ — ^viz — All the land North 
of the Road leading from the ford of Dogue 
run to the Gum spring as described in the de- 
vise of the other part of the tract, to Bushrod 
Washington, until it comes to the Stone & three 
red or Spanish Oaks on the knowl. — thence 
with the rectangular line to the back line (be- 
tween Mr. Mason & me) — thence with that 
line westerly, along the new double ditch to 
Dogue run, by the tumbling Dam of my Mill; 
— thence with the said run to the ford aforemen- 
tioned; — to which I add all the Land I possess 
West of the said Dogue run, & Dogue Crk — 
bounded Easterly & Southerly thereby; — to- 
gether with the Mill, Distillery,*^ and all other 
houses & improvements on the premises, mak- 
ing together about two thousand Acres — be it 
more or less 

Fourth Actuated by the principal already men- 
tioned, I give and bequeath to George Washing- 
ton Parke Custis, the Grandson of my wife, and 
my Ward, and to his heirs, the tract I hold on 
four mile run*^ in the vicinity of Alexandria, 
containing one thousd — two hundred acres, 
more or less, — & my entire Square, number 
twenty one, in the City of Washington/* 


Fifth All the rest and residue of my Estate, real 
& personal — not disposed of in manner afore- 
said — In whatsoever consisting — ^wheresoever 
lying — and whensoever found — a schedule of 
which, as far as is recollected, with a reasonable 
estimate of its value, is hereunto annexed — I 
desire may be sold by my Executors at such 
times — in such manner — and on such credits (if 
an equal, valid, and satisfactory distribution of 
the specific property cannot be made without) 
— as, in their judgment shall be most conducive 
to the interest of the parties concerned; and the 
monies arising therefrom to be divided into 
twenty three equal parts,^^ and applied as fol- 
low — viz — 

To William Augustine Washington, Elizabeth 
Spotswood, Jane Thornton, and the heirs of 
Ann Ashton; son, and daughters of my deceased 
brother Augustine Washington,*® I give and be- 
queath four parts: — that is — one part to each 
of them. 

To Fielding Lewis, George Lewis, Robert 
Lewis, Howell Lewis & Betty Carter, sons and 
daughter of my deceased Sister Betty Lewis, I 
give & bequeath five other parts — one to each 
of them 

To George Steptoe Washington, Lawrence 
Augustine Washington, Harriot*^ 



Parks, and the heirs of Thornton Washington, 
sons and daughter of my deceased brother 
Samuel Washington, I give and bequeath other 
four parts, one part to each of them. 

To Corbin Washington, and the heirs of Jane 
Washington,^^ Son & daughter of my deceased 
Brother John Augustine Washington, I give & 
bequeath two parts ; — one part to each of them. 

To Samuel Washington, Francis Ball & Mil- 
dred Hammond,*^ son and daughters of my 
Brother Charles Washington, I give & bequeath 
three parts; — one part to each of them. — And 
to George Fayette Washington Charles Augus- 
tine Washington & Maria Washington,^" sons 
and daughter of my deceased Nephew Geo: 
Augustine Washington, I give one other part ; — 
that is — to each a third of that part. 

To Elizabeth Parke Law, Martha Parke 
Peter, and Eleanor Parke Lewis,^^ I give and 
bequeath three other parts, — that is a part to 
each of them. 

And to my Nephews Bushrod Washington & 
Lawrence Lewis, — and to my ward,^^ the grand- 
son of My wife, I give and bequeath one other 
part; — that is, a third thereof to each of them. 
— And if it should so happen, that any of the 
persons whose names are here ennumerated (un- 
known to me) should now 


be deceased — or should die before me, that in 
either of these cases, the heirs of such deceased 
person shall, notwithstanding, derive all the 
benefits of the bequest; in the same manner as 
if he, or she, was actually living at the time 

And by way of advice, I recommend it to my 
Executors not to be precipitate in disposing of 
the landed property (herein directed to be 
sold) if from temporary causes the Sale thereof 
should be dull; experience having fully evinced, 
that the price of land (especially above the 
Falls of the Rivers, & on the Western Waters) 
have been progressively rising, and cannot be 
long checked in its increasing value. — ^And I 
particularly recommend it to such of the Lega- 
tees (under this clause of my Will) as can make 
it convenient, to take each a share of my Stock 
in the Potomac Company in preference to the 
amount of what it might sell for; being thor- 
oughly convinced myself, that no uses to which 
the money can be applied will be so productive 
as the Tolls arising from this navigation when 
in full operation (and this from the nature of 
things it must be 'ere long) and more especially 
if that of the Shanondoah is added thereto.^* 



The family Vault at Mount Vernon requiring 
repairs, and being improperly situated besides, 
I desire that a new one of Brick, and upon a 
larger Scale, may be built at the foot of what is 
commonly called the Vineyard Inclosure, — on 
the ground which is marked out.^^ — In which 
my remains, with those of my deceased relatives 
(now in the old Vault) and such others of my 
family as may chuse to be entombed there, may 
be deposited. — ^And it is my express desire that 
my Corpse may be Interred in a private man- 
ner, without — parade, or funeral Oration/^ 

Lastly I constitute and appoint my dearly be- 
loved wife Martha Washington, My Nephews 
William Augustine Washington, Bushrod Wash- 
ington, George Steptoe Washington, Samuel 
Washington, & Lawrence Lewis, & my ward 
George Washington Parke Custis (when he shall 
have arrived at the age of twenty years) Exe- 
cutrix & Executors of this Will & testament, — 
In the construction of which it will readily be 
perceived that no professional character has 
been consulted, or has had any Agency in the 
draught — and that, although it has occupied 





many of my leisure hours to digest, & to through^^ 
it into its present form, it may, notwithstanding, 
appear crude and incorrect. — But having en- 
deavoured to be plain, and explicit in all the 
Devises — even at the expence of prolixity, per- 
haps of tautology, I hope, and trust, that no 
disputes will arise concerning them ; but if, con- 
trary to expectation, the case should be other- 
wise from the want of legal expression, or the 
usual technical terms, or because too much or 
too little has been said on any of the Devises to 
be consonant with law, My Will and direction 
expressly is, that all disputes (if unhappily any 
should arise) shall be decided by three impartial 
and intelligent men, known for their probity 
and good understanding; two to be chosen by 
the disputants — each having the choice of one 
— and the third by those two. Which three men 
thus chosen, shall, unfettered by Law, or legal 
constructions, declare their Sense of the Testa- 
tors intention; — and such decision is, to all in- 
tents and purposes to be as binding on the 
Parties as if it had been given in the Supreme 
Court of the United States." 





In witness of all, and of each of the things 
herein contained, I have set my hand and Seal, 
this ninth day of July, in the year One thou- 
sand seven hundred and ninety^^ and of the 
Independence of the United States the twenty 





* Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, daughter of Colonel 
John Dandridge, of New Kent County, Virginia, and widow of 
Daniel Parke Custis. 

^ The Mount Vernon property emerged for the first time as a 
distinct area in the original grant from Lord Culpeper to Colonel 
Nicholas Spencer and Lieutenant Colonel John Washington (the 
emigrant) and great-grandfather of George Washington. From 
John, the emigrant, his share of the land, was bequeathed to his 
son Lawrence; from Lawrence to his daughter Mildred; from 
Mildred (and her husband, Roger Gregory) to her brother Au- 
gustine; from Augustine to his son Lawrence (who named the 
property "Mount Vernon" after Admiral Edward Vernon, of 
the British navy, under whom Lawrence served in the Cartagena 
expedition) ; from Lawrence to his daughter Sarah, with his wife, 
Ann Fairfax, retaining a life interest in the property; but Sarah 
dying in childhood, shortly after her father. Mount Vernon re- 
verted to George, the half-brother of Lawrence and the eldest son 
of Augustine by his second wife. George Washington obtained a 
legal opinion from James Mercer in 1754 as to his title to Mount 
Vernon and came into nominal possession that same year by 
virtue of a rental agreement with Colonel George Lee, who had 
married Ann Fairfax Washington, the widow of Lawrence. George 
Washington commenced living at Mount Vernon about March, 
1755, and continued to pay a yearly rental for "the use of Mt 
Vernon tract & Slaves" in discharge of the widow's life interest, 
through the year 1761. The area of the estate, which was Wash- 
ington's prized possession, amounted, at the time of his death, to 
eight thousand and sixty acres, or over twelve square miles of 
land. Within this area he laid out five distinct farm units, which 
were named by him: The Mansion House Farm (around Mount 
Vernon proper) ; The River Farm (to the northeast of the Man- 
sion and bounded on three sides by Little Hunting Creek and the 
Potomac River) ; The Union Farm (southwest of the Mansion 
and facing Dogue Creek) ; The Muddy Hole Farm (north of the 
Mansion, on which Dogue Run takes, or did take, its rise. Its 
eastern boundary was the narrowed water of Little Hunting 
Creek) ; The Dogue Run Farm (which lay along the main branch 
of Dogue Run to the northwest of the Mansion) . A large part 


of the area in which the farms were laid off was in forest land 
and a straight line from the Mansion House either in a northeast 
or northwest direction, to the farthest limits of Washington's prop- 
erty, would have extended four or five miles. 

' This lot was bequeathed by Mrs. Washington to her nephew 
Bartholomew Dandridge. 

* Mrs. Custis's negroes, which, while they became a part of the 
Mount Vernon organization, were restricted as to ownership by 
the terms of the will of Daniel Parke Custis. 

" All the provisions of the Will respecting the slaves were car- 
ried out in full, excepting the educational direction. This failed 
by reason of the Virginia "black laws" then in force which pro- 
hibited schools for the education of negroes. The last of the pen- 
sioned slaves died in 1833. 

'William ("Billy") Lee, was with Washington at the head- 
quarters of the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary 
War. In 1785 while assisting Washington in making a survey, he 
fell and broke one of his knee-pans; three years later, while going 
for the mail, he fell and broke the other. 

' The Alexandria Academy building, the corner stone of which 
was laid in 1785 by Washington, acting with the Alexandria 
Lodge of Masons, of which he was a member, is still standing at 
the corner of Washington and Wolfe streets. In 1786, the trustees 
of the Academy were incorporated, and this bequest fulfilled the 
arrangement which Washington had made with them in Decem- 
ber, 1785. In 1802, after Mrs. Washington's death, the stock so 
bequeathed was delivered to the trustees; the Bank of Alexandria 
closed up its affairs in 1833 and, in the course of time, the 
Academy was succeeded by the Washington School and finally 
merged with the town's public school system. 

® This word was undoubtedly meant to be "certainty" ; another 
slip in copying will be noted on page 6, where the superfluous 
article "a" appears in the 5th line, and on page 22, in the spelling 
of the word "their." 

* This letter, dated December 1 7, 1 785, was to the Trustees of 
the Alexandria Academy, of whom Doctor William Brown, a long- 
time friend of Washington, was president. In it the General stated 
that it had long been his intention to place, at his death, £1000 
current money of Virginia, in the hands of the trustees, the inter- 
est of which was to be used in instituting a school in Alexandria, 


for the education of orphan children, who had no resources, or 
the children of such indigent parents as were unable to give them 
an education. It not being in the General's power in 1785, to 
advance the £1000, he would, he said, until he died, or until 
such time as he could advance the principal, pay the interest 
thereof, to wit, £50 per annum, in order that "a measure that 
may be productive of good may not be delayed". The £50 was 
paid annually from the year 1785 until Washington died; Mrs. 
Washington continued the payments. After her death, the prin- 
cipal of the fund was delivered to the trustees in 1802 by Wash- 
ington's executors. 

" By act of the Virginia legislature in 1 785, the state subscribed 
20,000 dollars to the capital stock of the Potomac Company and 
a like amount to the James River Navigation Company, which 
amounts purchased 50 shares in the former company and 100 
shares in the latter, in the name of George Washington; as a testi- 
mony of his unexampled merits. Embarrassed by this action, 
Washington wrote to Governor Patrick Henry, expressing his 
appreciation; but begged that the act might have no effect so far 
as his private emolument was concerned; but if the legislature 
should be pleased to allow him to convert the shares so granted 
to objects of a public nature it would be his study to prove his 
gratitude by the best selection of such objects. The legislature 
forthwith passed an act appropriating the shares, and profits there- 
from to such objects of a public nature as Washington should 
direct during his lifetime, or designate by his last Will and 

" The national university project never materialized. It had 
been proposed in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, as one 
of the expressed powers of Congress; but failed of being incor- 
porated in that document. While President of the United States, 
Washington recommended it to Congress in his address to that 
body, January 8, 1790, and through his efforts a site was reserved 
in the new capital city for such an university. Nothing further 
was done, though the project was sponsored by Presidents Jeffer- 
son and Madison. The Potomac Navigation Company failed in 
1828 and the shares became valueless. 

" The name originally was the Augusta Academy, so-called from 
the Virginia county in which it was located. It was renamed 
Liberty Hall in the charter obtained in 1782, when the institution 
was relocated near Lexington, in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1795 
the Virginia legislature approved Washington's intention of as- 


signing the Potomac Company shares to a national university 
and requested him to assign, in like manner, the James River 
Company shares to the Liberty Hall Academy. This he did in a 
letter to the Governor of Virginia, in September, 1796. In 1798 
the name Liberty Hall vk^as changed to Washington College and, 
after a fire in 1803, the institution moved into the town of Lex- 
ington. After General Robert E. Lee's presidency (1865-1870), 
the name was again changed to Washington and Lee University. 
Although the James River Navigation Company long ago passed 
out of existence, this fund was salvaged in time; is still existent 
and forms a part of the University endowment which is cherished 
far beyond its present financial worth. 

*^ The education of these two boys proved something of a worry 
to Washington, and their thoughtless and irresponsible conduct 
drew from him to them, several, almost sharp, letters. 

^* Elizabeth Lewis Carter, daughter of the General's only sister, 
Elizabeth ("Betty") and Fielding Lewis, of Fredericksburg. 

^ William Augustine Washington, son of the General's half- 
brother Augustine (who was called by the General "Austin"). 

" The words "and his heirs" were interpolated by Washington 
through inadvertence in reading over this page, as he had already 
incorporated the necessary legal provision after the parenthesis; 
then, rather than make an erasure, or recopy the page, he let 
them stand. 

" This lottery was held by Colonel William Byrd, in Williams- 
burg in the year 1768. Washington won seven prizes, amounting 
in all to 568^ acres. The town of Edenburgh, in Prince George 
county, no longer exists. 

" Bushrod Washington, the eldest son of John Augustine (the 
General's favorite brother, who had died in 1787), and the most 
"bookish" of the General's nephews. The surviving papers, which 
suffered inexcusable spoliation while in Bushrod's possession, were 
sold to the United States in 1834 and 1849 by George Corbin 
Washington, Bushrod's nephew, son of Corbin. They are now in 
the custody of the Library of Congress. Some 455 books and 750 
pamphlets were sold in 1847 or 48 to Henry Stevens, and pur- 
chased from him by some Boston gentlemen to prevent their 
being taken to England. They are now in the custody of the 
Boston Athenaeum, which has published a catalogue of them. 


" The terms of the contracts for the purchase of these lands 
were not fulfilled during Mrs. Washington's lifetime. The Penn- 
sylvania land was sold in 1808 to Andrew Parks, who had mar- 
ried Harriet Washington, a daughter of Samuel. The New York 
Mohawk land was sold in 1803 to George Steptoe Washington. 
The Dismal Swamp property had been sold in 1795 to General 
Henry Lee. It was reconveyed back to the estate in 1809 through 
the inability of Lee to meet the terms of the sale. In 1825 it was 
purchased by Bushrod Washington and by him devised to his 
wife, and on her death to his nephews and grand-nephews. 

"" The Gloucester county land was sold to Burwell Bassett for 
the benefit of the children of George Augustine Washington, son 
of the General's brother Charles. 

" The Great Kanawha lands were divided by agreement, among 
the legatees of the Washington estate in 1805, by a deed of par- 
tition, executed and filed in the Fairfax coimty court. 

"^ The Difficult Run land was purchased by William Sheppard 
some little time before Washington's death. The last payment 
was made thereon to the executors of the estate in 181L 

" David Steuart Erskine, eleventh Earl of Buchan. He originated 
the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland. The box had been 
brought to America by Archibald Robertson, a mediocre Scotch 
painter, in 1791, who was commissioned to paint a portrait of 
Washington for the Earl. Robertson painted a miniature, from 
life, in New York in 1791 and from the miniature a portrait in 
oils, which was finished and sent to the Earl in 1792. In 1804 
Buchan returned the box to President Jefferson, for the National 
University, which was never established. 

" Benjamin Franklin's will provided that "My fine crabtree 
walking stick, with a gold head, curiously wrought in the form 
of a cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of 
mankind, General Washington. If it were a sceptre he has merited 
it; and would become it. It was a present to me from that excel- 
lent woman Madame de Forbach, the Dowager Duchess of Deux- 
Ponts, connected with some verses which should go with it." The 
cane was presented to the United States in 1843 by Samuel 
Thornton Washington, grandson of Charles, and is now in the 
Washington Collection in the United States National Museum. 

" Lawrence and Robert Washington were direct descendents of 
Lawrence, the brother of John, the emigrant. He settled in the 


Chotank region, which was a rather vaguely defined area on the 
south bank of the Potomac, some miles north of Westmoreland. 
Lawrence and Robert belonged to the Lund and Townsend branch 
of the Washingtons and were the playmates of George, after his 
father's death, when he, seemingly, was not settled in any one 
particular place, but spent much of his time away from the 
"Ferry Farm" near Fredericksburg, in long visits with different 
relatives, before finally settling permanently with his half-brother 
Lawrence, at Mount Vernon. The cane bequeathed to Robert is 
now owned by Lloyd W. Smith, of New Jersey. 

^ Doctor James Craik, two years Washington's senior, served 
with him in the Fort Necessity campaign, 1754, in the capacity 
of surgeon; and was also with the Virginia troops in the ill-starred 
Braddock expedition. He was Chief Physician and Surgeon in the 
Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He was one of 
the three physicians attendant on Washington in his last illness. 
The tambour secretary and circular chair have been restored to 
Mount Vernon and are now in their accustomed places in the 

*' Doctor David Stuart, of Fairfax county (a son of John 
Stuart, 3d earl of Bute), a warm friend of Washington, was 
appointed by him a member of the first board of Commissioners 
for the District of Columbia. He married Eleanor Calvert Custis, 
the widow of John Parke Custis, Washington's step-son. The 
shaving and dressing table has been restored to Mount Vernon 
and the telescope is in the possession of the Armour Institute of 
Technology, Chicago. 

** Bryan Fairfax was four years the junior of Washington; but 
an unbroken friendship always existed between them. Although 
not wholly in sympathy with the Revolution, he was not a firm 
loyalist. He refused to take the oath of allegiance to the King 
in 1777. He helped organize the Episcopal Church in Virginia 
after the Revolution; joined the ministry in 1789, and officiated 
at Christ Church, Alexandria and the Falls Church in Fairfax 
county. He lived at "Mount Eagle", near Alexandria and died 
there in 1802. He became Lord Fairfax (eighth) in 1793. The 
Bible is now preserved in the Library of Congress. Washington 
was mistaken about the Bible having been given him by the 
Bishop of Sodor and Man; it had been bequeathed to him by the 
son of the Bishop, whose name being the same as that of his 
father, accounts for the error. 


*° Marie Jean Paul Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de 
Lafayette, (Washington always wrote it Fayette) was twenty-five 
years Washington's junior yet, despite the difference of age, the 
friendship between the two men became strong and lasting. The 
young nobleman's enthusiasm, idealism and faith in the cause of 
liberty, aside from his engaging personality, appealed strongly to 
the older man who came to love Lafayette as a son. This bequest 
shows Washington's complete understanding of the romantic senti- 
ment that formed so large a part of Lafayette's character. 

'"Hannah (Bushrod), the widow of John Augustine Washing- 
ton; Mildred (Thornton), the widow of Charles; Eleanor (Cal- 
vert) Custis Stuart, the widow of John Parke Gustis; Hannah 
(Fairfax), of "Fairfield", widow of Warner Washington; and 
Elizabeth (Foote) Washington, of "Hayfield", the widow of Lund 
Washington, the manager of Mount Vernon during the Revo- 
lutionary War. Mourning rings were a social custom in the 18th 
century, and such bequests were not unusual. One of these 
Washington mourning rings is known to have survived. 

" Tobias Lear, of New Hampshire, came to Mount Vernon well 
recommended; after the Revolution he became the trusted friend 
of Washington. His second wife was Fanny Bassett, the young 
widow of George Augustine Washington; after her death Lear 
married Frances Dandridge, the niece of Mrs. Washington. He 
was Secretary to the President of the United States in Wash- 
ington's first administration and military secretary at Mount Ver- 
non during the French War excitement in 1798-1799. 

^^ Sallie Ball Haynie, a relative and pensioner of Mary Ball, the 
mother of Washington. The General continued to aid her finan- 
cially, after his mother's death. This legacy was paid to her in 

'^ Thomas Bishop and John Alton were servants from Colonial 
times. Bishop had been a servant of General Braddock and came 
to Washington after that General's death in 1755. Alton had 
accompanied Washington on his trip from Virginia to Boston in 
1756, and prepared Mount Vernon for the home coming of the 
Colonel and Mrs. Washington, after their marriage. 

** William Augustine Washington (son of the General's half- 
brother Augustine — "Austin"). The sword which fell to him is 
now in the New York State Library, Albany. When the State 
Capitol was burned in 1911, this sword was badly damaged. It 


was a rapier with a filigree handle and guard and white sharkskin 
scabbard. It is said to have been the handsomest sword owned by 
the General. 

George Lewis (son of the General's only sister) . The sword 
chosen by him is now at Mount Vernon. It is said to be the sword 
Washington wore when he resigned his commission at Annapolis 
in 1783; when he was inaugurated President of the United States 
in 1789, and on other state and dress occasions. 

George Steptoe Washington (son of the General's brother 
Samuel). The sword chosen by him is now at Mount Vernon. 
This sword was presented to Washington in 1796 by Theophilus 
Alte, of SoUingen, Prussia. It is a handsome weapon, wide of 
blade and rather heavy looking, with an ornate scabbard. 

Bushrod Washington (son of the General's brother Charles). 
The sword chosen by him is now at Mount Vernon. It is a Span- 
ish dress sword with a gilt hilt and gilt mounted black leather 
scabbard, and is described as a "mourning sword". 

Samuel Washington (son of the General's brother Charles). 
The sword chosen by him is now in the United States National 
Museum, Washington, D. C. It is the sword worn by the General 
during the Revolution and is a "cutteau" with a slightly curved 
blade and a green colored, deeply grooved ivory hilt, wound with 
silver strips; the short quillons are silver mounted. The scabbard 
is of russet leather, silver mounted and marked "J. Bailey Fishkill". 
Bailey describes himself as a black and whitesmith and cutler of 
New York City, which place he left when the British captured it 
in 1776. He moved to Fredericksburg, N. Y. and, later, to Fish- 
kill. His mark fixes the approximate date of the scabbard as com- 
ing into Washington's possession about 1779, or 1780. The date 
of the sword is as yet undetermined. It is, however, known as the 
"service sword" from its having been used by Washington during 
the Revolutionary War, 

'^ John Augustine Washington, the General's best loved brother, 
looked after Washington's interests at Mount Vernon, during the 
French and Indian War. 

^ The area of the present Mount Vernon (less than 500 acres) 
formed a part of this bequest to Bushrod Washington. A nice 
legal question of title to the Mount Vernon property bequeathed 
contingently by Lawrence Washington to his half-brother George, 
came into view at the time of the General's death, as by Law- 
rance's will, if George died childless the property was to revert to 


Augustine ("Austin") or his heirs. There was no doubt of the 
title at the time George took possession; nevertheless, because of 
the law of entail, then in force in Virginia, Washington obtained 
authoritative, legal opinions as to his title in 1754, two years 
after the death of Lawrence; and again in 1769; but failed to 
follow the suggestion in this latter opinion (by Edmund Pendle- 
ton) that the entail in the estate be "docked" by legislative action; 
in the doing of which Pendleton "could see no impropriety". 
When Washington made this Will in 1799, Virginia had long 
since abolished all entails and he apparently took it for granted 
that any question of an "entail" in Mount Vernon had been 
automatically settled. At any rate the bequests to the heirs of 
his half-brother Augustine ("Austin") of four twenty-thirds of 
the cash value of that portion of the entire estate so converted, 
amply compensated them for any presumptive claims they may 
have had to the Mount Vernon real estate. Their failure to pro- 
test at the time of the final settlement by the executors made any 
question that might be raised thereafter a purely academic one. 

" Thomson Mason, a brother of George Mason, of "Gunston 

^Humphrey Peake died in 1785. 

''George Augustine Washington (son of Charles), died in 1793. 
He was a cornet, ensign, lieutenant, and captain in the 3d Con- 
tinental Dragoons. He acted for a time during the Revolutionary 
War as a volunteer aide to his uncle; he afterwards became an 
aide to the Marquis de Lafayette. He married Fanny Bassett and, 
in Washington's first term as President, managed Mount Vernon 
and its farms. He seems to have been the only one of the Gen- 
eral's nephews who had a liking for agriculture. His sons were 
George Fayette and Charles (not Lawrence) Augustine Washing- 
ton. This slip in identity may have been due to the impress 
made on Washington's mind by the conduct of George Steptoe 
and Lawrence Augustine, as well as the strain of copying so long 
a document as the Will. 

*° Eleanor Parke ("Nelly") Custis, who married Lawrence 
Lewis, at Mount Vernon, February 22, 1799, and George Wash- 
ington Parke Custis, two of the children of John Parke Custis. 
There has been some confusion respecting the adoption of them 
by Washington. They were looked upon by the General as his 
wards, and George Washington Parke Custis is so mentioned, 
later, in the Will; but the General seems never to have bothered 


to legally confirm this status, except in the case of Nelly Custis. 
On January 23, 1799 the General wrote to Lawrence Lewis: 
"Your letter of the 10th instant I received in Alexandria, on 
Monday, whither I went to become the guardian of Nelly, thereby 
to authorize a license for your nuptials on the 2 2d of next 

" The house erected by Lawrence Lewis shortly after 1800 on 
this land, from plans of Dr. William Thornton, the architect of 
the United States Capitol building, was named "Woodlawn". It 
has been restored and is still standing. A portion of the land, 
like that of the Mount Vernon area bequeathed to Bushrod Wash- 
ington (with the exception of the present Mount Vernon prop- 
erty), has been subdivided into many small holdings. 

*^ The grist mill was located at the head of Dogue Creek and 
is shown on the map of Mount Vernon made by Washington in 
1793; reproductions of which are available in numerous publica- 
tions. The Distillery was near the Mill. As early as 1761 Wash- 
ington purchased a 50 gallon still from England; but distilling on 
a large scale was not undertaken until about 1796 or 1797. 

**The "Four Mile Run Tract" was on the north bank of that 
stream and extended toward the "Arlington" estate, which Custis 
had inherited from his father. After the Civil War, Major Gen- 
eral George Washington Custis Lee conveyed over 300 acres of 
the "Four Mile Run" land to the Episcopal Theological Seminary 
at Arlington, The remainder of the property has been subdivided 
into farms and building lots under numerous ownerships. 

** Square 21 in Washington City is bounded by 25th, 26th, D 
and E streets, Northwest. Custis neglected to take the steps neces- 
sary to confirm his title, though he bequeathed the square to 
Colonel Robert E. Lee, who had married his daughter Mary Ann 
Randolph Custis. In 1830 this property was sold for the non- 
payment of taxes through an authority created by Congress, a 
short while before 1830. 

* This portion of the estate (which was the residue to be di- 
vided into twenty-three equal parts after Mrs. Washington's 
death) was valued in the "Schedule" at $530,000. The estate 
already devised has been calculated at $250,000 which figure, 
excluded any estimate of the value of the 124 slaves at Mount 
Vernon; but as these were to be given their freedom later they 
could not, properly, be considered in any estimate. 

** Augustine ("Austin") Washington, the General's half-brother, 


died in 1762. His daughter Elizabeth had married General Alex- 
ander Spotswood. Jane had married Colonel John Thornton. 
Ann had married Burdett Ashton. Augustine's son, William Au- 
gustine Washington, was generally referred to as "of Wakefield". 

" Washington spelled her name oftener Harriet, and she signed 
herself Harriet. She had married Andrew Parks. 

** Jane Washington had married William Augustine Washing- 
ton, "of Wakefield". 

*" Frances Washington had married Burges Ball. Mildred had 
married Thomas Hammond. 

^^ Maria, then unmarried, was Anna Maria Washington. 

■" Elizabeth ("Eliza") Parke Custis had married Thomas Law. 
Martha Parke Custis had married Thomas Peter. Eleanor 
("Nelly") Parke Custis, had married Lawrence Lewis. 

"" The ward, grandson of Mrs. Washington, was George Wash- 
ington Parke Custis. 

" This advice would have been sound but for the unforeseen 
invention of the steam locomotive, which completely changed the 
whole system of land transportation. 

°* This new vault was built by Lawrence Lewis and George 
Washington Parke Custis in 1830-1. The old vault had been 
built by the General in fulfilment of the wish expressed in the 
will of Lawrence, his half-brother, and it was in the old vault 
the General's remains reposed from 1799 to 1831. The location 
was "improper" mainly because of numerous springs in the slope 
which caused land-slides, some of them of a serious nature. This 
danger also threatened the Mansion House, though it is doubtful 
if the General had become aware of it. It has been checked by a 
tunnel and modern drainage system. 

"' Washington died on a Saturday night and the funeral was 
arranged for the following Wednesday. Before that day so many 
friends, near neighbors and acquaintances, both in Virginia and 
Maryland announced their intention of being present that all 
thought of a private funeral was abandoned. A lead-lined mahog- 
any casket, with an enclosing box, lined and covered with black 
cloth, was made in Alexandria and on Wednesday morning, De- 
cember 18, Washington's body was brought from the New Room 
(now known as the Banquet Hall) to the veranda, on the river 
front of the Mansion House and there lay in state until about 


three o'clock in the afternoon. By then all arrangements had been 
completed and the procession, led by the military from Alexandria, 
moved to the tomb, around the north end of the house past the 
front door. The soldiery consisted of militia horse, artillery and 
infantry, commanded by Colonel George Deneale. The band, 
which followed the infantry, played a dirge; a group of clergy 
consisting of the Reverend Thomas Davis, of Christ Church, 
Alexandria; Reverend James Muir and Reverend William Maffitt, 
of the Presbyterian Church, and Reverend William Dulany Addi- 
son, of the Episcopalian Church at Oxon Hill, Maryland, imme- 
diately preceded the bier, which was borne by lieutenants of the 
militia, with Colonels Charles Little, Charles Simms, William 
Payne, George Gilpin, Dennis Ramsay and Philip Marsteller as 
honorary pall-bearers. Colonel Thomas Blackburn walked at the 
head of the bier, behind which Washington's horse, fully capari- 
soned, was led by two of the servants. Relatives followed (none 
of the accounts mention Mrs. Washington) ; eight officers and 
forty-eight members of Masonic Lodge 22, of Alexandria, fifteen 
members of Lodge 47, of Alexandria and a committee of three or 
four from Lodge 15 of Washington, D. C. The Mayor and 
Commonality of Alexandria followed and a concourse of citizens 
which the Alexandria Gazette stated was "immense". At the 
vault the troops formed a lane through which the procession 
passed. The Reverend Mr. Davis read the burial service and 
delivered a brief address; the Masonic rites were performed by 
Doctor Elisha CuUen Dick, minute guns were fired from Mr. 
Robert Hamilton's schooner, which came down from Alexandria 
and anchored off Mount Vernon, and the ceremonies concluded 
with the firing of salutes by the artillery, infantry and horse. 
Washington's body remained in the old vault until 1831, when 
the present tomb was finished and all the bodies, then in the old 
vault were removed to the present location. The marble sar- 
cophagi in which rests the remains of the General and Mrs. 
Washington, were carved and presented by John Struthers, of 

"' The word "through" is an inadvertance which shows how 
physically tired Washington had become in the last year of his 
life; the examples of his properly spelling the word "throw" in 
his writings are too many to admit of any other explanation. 

" There were no disputes over the provisions of the Will. A 
minor controversy was carried into court, but this was uncon- 
nected with the direct bequests. 

** The inadvertance in omitting the word "nine" from the date 
of the year is another indication of the physical weariness men- 
tioned above. 


Schedule of property comprehended in the fore- 
going Will, which is directed to be sold, and some of 
it, conditionally is sold; with discriptive, and ex- 
planatory notes^ relative thereto. 

In Virginia 

acres price dollars 

Loudoun County 
Difficult nm 300 6,666 (a) 

(a) This tract for the size of it is valuable, — more for its 
situation than the quality of its soil, though that is good 
for Farming; with a considerable portion of grd — that 
might, very easily, be improved into Meadow. — It lyes on 
the great road from the City of Washington, Alexandria 
and George Town, to Leesburgh & Winchester; at Difficult 
bridge, — nineteen miles from Alexandria, — less from the 
City & George Town, and not more than three from 
Matildaville at the Great Falls of Potomac. — There is a 
valuable seat on the Premises — and the whole is condi- 
tionally sold — for the sum annexed in the Schedule [See 
the notes to the Will in reference to this property.] 

Loudoun & Fauquier 

Ashbys Bent 2481 ... $10 ... 24,810 "l 

Chattins Run .... 885 .. . 8 . . . 7,080 / ^ ^ 

(b) What the selling prices of lands in the vicinity of 
these two tracts are, I know not; but compared with 
those above the ridge, and others below them, the value 
annexed will appear moderate — a less one would not ob- 
tain them from me.^ 



So. forkof Bullskin. ... 1600 

Head of Evans's M. . . 453 

On Wormeley's line. . . 183 

2236.... 20 .. 44.720 (c) 

(c) The surrounding land, not superior in Soil, situation 
or properties of any sort, sell currently at from twenty to 
thirty dollars an Acre. — The lowest price is affixed to 

Bought from Mercer. . 571 20 . . 11.420 (d) 

(d) The observations made in the last note applies equally 
to this tract tract; being in the vicinity of them, and of 
similar quality, altho' it lyes in another County* 

On Potk River above B 240 15 . . 3.600 (e) 

(e) This tract, though small, is extremely valuable. — It 
lyes on Potomac River about 12 miles above the Town of 
Bath (or Warm springs) and is in the shape of a horse 
Shoe; — the river running almost around it. — Two hun- 
dred Acres of it is rich low grounds; with a great abund- 
ance of the largest & finest Walnut trees; which, with 
the produce of the Soil, might (by means of the improved 
Navigation of the Potomac) be brought to a shipping 
port with more ease, and at a smaller expence, than that 
which is transported 30 miles only by land.^ 

On North River 400 . . abt.. . 3.600 (f) 

(f) This tract is of second rate Gloucester low grounds. — 
It has no Improvements thereon, but lyes on navigable 
water, abounding in Fish and Oysters. It was received in 


payment of a debt (carrying interest) and valued in the 
year 1789 by an impartial Gentleman to £800. — NB. it 
has lately been sold, and there is due thereon, a balance 
equal to what is annexed the Schedule® 


Near Suffolk 1/3 of 1 373 g^ 2.984 (g) 

1119 acres j ^° 

(g) These 373 acres are the third part of undivided pur- 
chases made by the deceased Fielding Lewis Thomas 
Walker and myself; on full conviction that they would 
become valuable. — The land lyes on the Road from Suf- 
folk to Norfolk — touches (if I am not mistaken) some 
part of the Navigable water of Nansemond River — bor- 
ders on, and comprehends part of the rich Dismal Swamp; 
— is capable of great improvement; — and from its situation 
must become extremely valuable.'^ 

Great Dismal Swamp 

My dividend thereof abt.. . . 20.000 (h) 

(h) This is an undivided Interest wch — I held in the 
Great Dismal Swamp Company — containing about 4000 
acres, with my part of the Plantation & Stock thereon be- 
longing to the Company in the sd Swamp^ 

Ohio River 

Round bottom . . 587 
Little Kanhawa . 2314 
1 6 miles lowr down 2448 
Opposite Big Bent 4395 

9744 ... 10 .. 97 440 (i) 

(i) These several tracts of land are of the first quality on 
the Ohio River, in the parts where they are situated; — 
being almost if not altogether River bottoms. — The small- 
est of these tracts is actually sold at ten dollars an acre but 
the consideration therefor not received — the rest are equal- 


ly valuable & will sell as high — especially that which lyes 
just below the little Kanhawa and is opposite to a thick 
settlement on the West side the Rivr. — The four tracts 
have an aggregate breadth upon the River of Sixteen miles 
and is bounded thereby that distance.^ 

Great Kanhawa 

Near the Mouth West 10990 

East side above 7276 

Mouth of Cole River. 2000 

Opposite thereto 2950 

Burning Spring 125 

23341 200.000 (k) 

(k) These tracts are situated on the Great Kanhawa 
River, and the first four are bounded thereby for more 
than forty miles. — It is acknowledged by all who have 
seen them (and of the tract containing 10990 acres which 
I have been on myself, I can assert) that there is no richer, 
or more valuable land in all that Region; — They are 
conditionally sold for the sum mentioned in the Schedule — 
that is $200,000 and if the terms of that Sale are not 
complied with they will command considerably more. — 
The tract of which the 125 acres is a moiety, was taken 
up by General Andrew Lewis and myself for, and on 
account of a bituminous Spring which it contains, of so 
inflamable a nature as to burn as freely as spirits, and is 
as nearly difficult to extinguish^" 


Charles County 600 ... . 6 . . 3.600 (1) 

Montgomery Do 519 12 . . 6.228 (m) 

(1) I am but little acquainted with this land, although I 
have once been on it. — It was received (many years 
since) in discharge of a debt due to me from Daniel 
Jenifer Adams at the value annexed thereto — and must 


be worth more. — It is very level, lyes near the River 

(m) This tract lyes about 30 miles above the City of 
Washington, not far from Kittoctan. — It is good farming 
Land, and by those who are well acquainted with it I am 
informed that it would sell at twelve or $15 pr. acre.^^ 

Great Meadows 234 6 . . . 1.404 (n) 

(n) This land is valuable on account of its local situation, 
and other properties. — It affords an exceeding good stand 
on Braddocks road from Fort Cumberland to Pittsburgh — 
and besides a fertile soil, possesses a large quantity of 
natural Meadow, fit for the scythe. — It is distinguished by 
the appellation of the Great Meadows — where the first 
action with the French in the year 1754 was fought,^^ 

New York 
Mohawk River abt. . . . 1000 ... 6 6.000 (o) 

(o) This is the moiety of about 2000 Acs. which remains 
unsold of 6071 Acres on the Mohawk River (Montgomery 
Cty) in a Patent granted to Daniel Coxe in the Town- 
ship of Coxeborough & Carolana — as will appear by Deed 
from Marinus Willet & wife to George Clinton (late 
Governor of New York) and myself. — The latter sales have 
been at Six dollars an acr; and what remains unsold will 
fetch that or more^* . 

North Westn. Territy 

On litde Miami 839 

Ditto 977 

Ditto 1235 

3051 5 . . 15.251 (p) 

(p) The quality of these lands & their Situation, may be 
known by the Surveyors Certificates — which are filed along 


with the Patents. — They lye in the vicinity of Cincinnati; 
— one tract near the mouth of the Httle Miami — another 
seven & the third ten miles up the same — I have been 
informed that they will readily command more than they 
are estimated at.^^ 


Rough Creek 3000 

Ditto adjoing 2000 

5000 .... 2 . . 10.000 (q) 

(q) For the description of these tracts in detail, see 
General Spotswoods letters, filed with the other papers re- 
lating to them. — Besides the General good quality of the 
Land, there is a valuable Bank of Iron Ore thereon: — 
which, when the settlement becomes more populous (and 
settlers are moving that way very fast) will be found very 
valuable; as the rough Creek, a branch of Green River 
affords ample water for Furnaces & forges. ^^ 

Lots — ^viz. 

City of Washington 
Two, near the Capital, Sqr 634 cost $963 "i 
— and with Buildgs / 

No. 5. 12. 13. & 14— the 3 last, Water \ 

lots on the Eastern Branch, in Sqr. f . ^„n , ^ 

^. 4.132 (s) 
667. containing together 34.438 sqr. / ' 

feet a 12 Cts ) 

(r) The two lots near the Capital, in square 634, cost me 
963$ only; but in this price I was favoured, on condition 
that I should build two Brick houses three Story high 
each: — without this reduction the selling prices of those 
Lots would have cost me about $1350. — These lots, with 
the buildings thereon, when completed will stand me in 
$15000 at least.^8 


(s) Lots No. 5. 12. 13 & 14 on the Eastn. branch, are 
advantageously situated on the water — and although many 
lots much less convenient have sold a great deal higher I 
will rate these at 12 Gts — the square foot only.^^ 

Comer of Pitt & Prince Stts — half an \ 

Acre — laid out into buildgs — 3 or 4 of f ^ ^^„ , , 

\, 4.000 (t) 
wch. are let on grd. Rent at $3 pr. /" ' ' 

foot ) 

(t) For this lot, though unimproved, I have refused 
$3500. — It has since been laid off into proper sized lots 
for building on — three or 4 of which are let on ground 
Rent — forever — at three dollars a foot on the Street. — 
and this price is asked for both fronts on Pitt & Princes 


A lot in the Town of half an Acr & an- "j 

other in the Commons of about 6 Acs > . .400 (u) 

— supposed J 

(u) As neither the lot in the Town or Common have any 
improvements on them, it is not easy to fix a price, but 
as both are well situated, it is presumed the price annexed 
to them in the Schedule is a reasonable valun.^^ 

Bath — or Warm Springs 

Two Well situated, & had buildings to ) __,^ , . 
the amt of £150 |..800(w) 

(w) The Lots in Bath (two adjoining) cost me, to the 
best of my recollection, betwn. fifty & sixty pounds 20 
years ago; — and the buildings thereon £150 more. — 
Whether property there has increased or decreasd in its 
value, and in what condition the houses are, I am igno- 
rant, but suppose they are not valued too high^^ 


United States. . . .6 pr Cts 3746 

^"^f"''^ llll\....2500 6.246 (X) 

3 pr Cts 2946 j ^ 

(x) These are the sums which are actually funded. — And 
though no more in the aggregate than $7.566 — stand me 
in at least ten thousand pounds in Virginia money. — being 
the amount of bonded and other debts due to me, & dis- 
charged during the War when money had depreciated in 
that ratio — and was so settled by public authoty — 

Potomack Company 
24 Shares— cost ea £100 Sterg 20.666 (y) 

(y) The value annexed to these sha: is what they have 
actually cost me, and is the price afBxed by Law: — and 
although the present selling price is under par, my advice 
to the Legatees (for whose benefit they are intended, es- 
pecially those who can afford to lye out of the money) 
is that each should take and hold one; — there being a 
moral certainty of a great and increasing profit arising 
from them in the course of a few years — 

James River Company 

5 Shares— each cost $100 500 (z) 

(z) It is supposed that the Shares in the James River 
Company must also be productive. — But of this I can 
give no decided opinion for want of more accurate in- 

Bank of Columbia 
170 Shares— $40 each 6.800^ 

Bank of Alexandria 

— besides 20 to the Free School 5 


1 1.000 


(&) These are nominal prices of the Shares of the Banks 
of Alexandria & Columbia — the selling prices vary ac- 
cording to circumstances. But as the Stock usually divided 
from eight to ten per cent per annum, they must be worth 
the former — at least — so long as the Banks are conceived to 
be Secure, though from circumstances may, sometimes be 
below it.^* 

Stock — living — viz. — 

1 Covering horse, 5 Coh. Horses — 4 
riding do — Six brood Mares — 20 
working horses & mares. — 2 Covering 
Jacks — & 3 young ones — 10 she Asses, 
42 working Mules — 15 younger ones 
329 head of horned Cattle 640 head ) 15.653 

of Sheep — and a large Stock of Hogs 
— the pricise number unknown 
Bt^^My Manager has estimated this live 
Stock at £7,000 but I shall set it 
down in order to make rd sum at 

Agregate amt $530,000 

The value of the live stock depends more upon the 
quality than quantity of the different species of it, and 
this again upon the demand, and judgment or fancy 
of purchasers. ^^ 


Mount Vernon 
9th. July 1799 



* The "Schedule of property" accompanies the Will and, like 
it, is entirely in Washington's writing. The "Notes", also in 
Washington's writing, explanatory of the items and their values 
were lettered by him, parenthetically, as given; but placed by 
Washington in a group at the end of the "Schedule". In this 
publication they are placed directly after each item for clarity 
and the greater convenience of the reader. 

' The Ashby's Bent and Chattin Run tracts were obtained in 
part, by purchase from Bryan Fairfax. They were on the east 
slope of the Blue Ridge, near Upperville. Washington's estimate 
both of the quantity and value of the land was in-exact. The 
Ashby's Bent tract actually contained 2690 acres and was sold 
for $8820. to General Spotswood; the Chattin Run land amounted 
to 1240 acres and was sold to Colonel Thornton for $9920. The 
over estimate was thus $13,150. 

* The Berkeley lands were in the southern part of what is now 
Jefferson county. West Virginia. The BuUskin tracts were found 
to amount to 2478 acres in all, and were sold to Andrew Parks, 
Corbin Washington's heirs, Burdett Ashton and Robert Lewis for 
$36,733. This was $4325. below Washington's valuation even 
though the quantity was 301 acres more than he estimated. 

* The Frederick tract, obtained from either James, or Col. 
George Mercer, was actually short by 17 acres, and was bought by 
Lawrence Lewis for $8969. which was $3452. less than the estimate. 
This tract became "Audley", (near Berryville, now Clarke county, 
Virginia) the home of Nelly Custis Lewis, who lived there until 
her death. Repetition of the word tract was a pen slip. 

" The Hampshire land extended over 249 acres and was sold to 
Samuel Washington for $4999., exceeding the estimate by $1399. 

' The Gloucester tract had been sold to George Ball and the 
balance of $3600. was due on the purchase. This balance was 
not paid and, in 1805, the land was resold to the children of 
George Augustine Washington for $3836. 

' The Nansemond lands were one-third of a joint holding by 
Washington, Colonel Fielding Lewis and Doctor Thomas Walker. 
The Washington interest was sold by George Washington Parke 


Custis, acting as an executor, to William B. Whitehead, in 1851, 
for $290. or about 75(^ an acre. Washington estimated this land 
at about $8. an acre. 

* Washington owned two of the twenty-one shares of the Great 
Dismal Swamp Company. He valued them at £5000 in 1793. 
The Dismal Swamp property was sold to General Henry Lee 
("Light Horse Harry" of the Revolution and the father of Robert 
E. Lee). He was unable to meet the payments agreed upon and, 
in 1799, relinquished the purchase. After its reconveyance back 
to the Washington estate in 1809, dividends varying from $580. to 
$2400. were paid annually by the company for about fifteen 
years. (See notes to the Will.) 

9-10 xhe Ohio River land, known as Round Bottom, was Wash- 
ington's portion of the lands granted by Governor Dinwiddle to 
the Virginia troops, officers and men, who had served in the 
French and Indian War. In 1770 Washington and Colonel Wil- 
liam Crawford, one of America's famous frontiersmen, located 
these lands in a canoe trip of some 500 miles. Washington was 
delegated by a meeting of the officers in 1771 to establish this 
granted land and push the business of titles thereto. It was a 
cooperative scheme, so far as the expenses were concerned; but 
in the end much of the expense had to be met by Washington. 
Crawford, later, made surveys for the individual claims and 
Washington, in collaboration with Crawford, platted the same 
for record. In 1798, Archibald McClean, of Alexandria, offered 
to purchase the Round Bottom tract and entered into a purchase 
agreement at $5870., payable in installments. It later developed 
that this tract actually contained, instead of the 587 acres noted 
by Washington, 1293 acres. Claims against this tract, on account 
of its value, by Michael Cresap and a certain Tomlinson, were 
fought by McClean for years in the courts. In part payment for 
this land McClean conveyed to the executors of Washington's 
estate in 1813, a lot in Alexandria, on Wolfe, Water (now Lee), 
and Potomac streets. No other consideration was ever paid by 
McClean. To whom the executors sold this property is not known. 
Washington's remaining lands on the Great and Little Kanawha 
rivers were divided by the deed of partition entered into by the 
heirs in 1805, which alloted areas, averaging 1200 acres, to each. 
How and when these 23 parcels were later disposed of is of little 
interest to the Washington estate. 

" The Charles County land in Durham parish, the southwestern 
section of Charles County, opposite Maryland Point in Virginia. 


It came to Washington in cancellation of a debt from Daniel 
Jenifer Adams. Washington's Ledger of Accounts for December 
1775, notes this land as being 552 1/3 acres. In 1806, Bushrod 
Washington, as trustee, sold this property to Nicholas Fitzhugh, 
who "satisfied the balance of the purchase raioney after deducting 
the sum due his wife (Sarah, the daughter of Burdett Ashton) 
as a legatee of George Washington, in part discharge of a debt 
due from sd. George Washington deed, to David Stewart 

" The Montgomery County land was accepted by Washington 
from the estate of John Francis Mercer, in 1794, in cancellation 
of a debt, Washington paying the excess of the land value over 
the debt total of 3633 Spanish milled dollars. This land is about 
twelve miles north of Rockville, the county seat of Montgomery 
county, and was known in 1798 as "Woodstock Manor". Through 
court proceedings this land was sold in 1806 to Thomas Peter 
for $6446. 

" The Great Meadows land was purchased by Captain William 
Crawford for Washington, in 1770, after Washington returned 
from the trip down the Ohio river, that year. On this tract of 
234 acres was the site of Fort Necessity, where Washington sur- 
rendered to the French in 1754. It was sold to Andrew Parks, 
and has now become a public park in which a replica of Fort 
Necessity has been erected. 

" The Mohawk River land was bought in partnership with 
Governor George Clinton, in 1783, and was disposed of, in part, 
before the drawing up of the Will. The remainder, stated by 
Washington to be 1000 acres was, in reality 1126 acres, and when 
sold in 1803-6 and 1808, brought the total amount obtained for 
this land up to $6,600. These sales divided the property into 26 
or more parcels. 

'° The Northwest Territory land was acquired by purchase from 
two Virginia Revolutionary soldiers. Though Washington, by 
Virginia law was entitled to 23,333 acres for his Revolutionary 
War service, he refused to accept any land on the same principle 
on which he had declined payment from the Continental Con- 
gress, of a salary as Commander-in-Chief of the army. The two 
tracts purchased were in different townships in Clermont County, 
Ohio. Owing to changes in the procedure for land entries, occa- 
sioned by the states' cessions of the Northwest Territory land to 
the National Government, it became possible, by sharp practice, 


to secure title to lands already granted, where the strict letter of a 
somewhat complicated title procedure had not been meticulously 
complied with. Washington, his mind occupied with important 
national concerns, failed to take the necessary legal steps and his 
lands were "jumped" by a clever individual, and so lost to the 
Washington estate. 

" The Kentucky lands about one hundred miles southwest of 
Louisville, on the Green River; they are now, after various 
changes in county lines, in Greyson county. No records have been 
found showing the transfer of these lands from the Washington 

^* The lots in the city of Washington : Two were near the 
Capitol square and were purchased, one from the District Com- 
missioners and one from Daniel Carroll of Duddington. They 
were on the west side of North Capitol Street, slightly to the 
north of the middle of the block bounded by B and G streets. 
Washington paid $964. for the two. The double house which 
Washington started to erect on the lots was unfinished when he 
died; but was completed in the year 1800. The houses were 
burned by the British in 1814 and the lots and the ruins were 
sold in 1817 to David English for $1446. 

" The "water lots on the Eastern Branch" of the Potomac (now 
called the Anacostia River) were purchased by Washington in 
1793. They were sold by the executors to Andrew Parks, Thomas 
Peter and George Steptoe Washington in 1803 for $1,725. which 
was $2,416. less than Washington's valuation. In 1817, after 
various court technicalities, created by the differences in law 
between Virginia and the District of Columbia, had been settled, 
these water lots were sold to Charles Glover and John G. Mc- 
Donald for a total of $557. 

"" At a public sale, by the executors, in 1803, Doctor T. Peyton 
bought two of the Alexandria lots for $1172; Lawrence Augustine 
Washington bought four lots for $3,831; Burdett Ashton, one lot 
for $1206, and George Steptoe Washington two lots for $2,426. 
a total of $8,665. which was double the amount of Washington's 

" There seems to be no definite information available as to the 
fate of these Winchester lots. 

" The Bath, or Warm Springs property went to Bushrod Wash- 
ington for $380. where Washington had estimated its value at 


^' The history of these bank and navigation company stocks wili 
be found in the notes to the Will. 

" The omission here is but another of the indications that the 
careful copying of the Will and "Schedule" was a tiresome duty. 
How many drafts of both documents were made before these final 
ones, it is impossible to say. Indications point to there having 
been more than two. 

"^ At the executors sales in 1800-2 the total amount obtained for 
the live stock, approximated $12,000. which was $3,600. under 
Washington's estimate. 



In the name of G o d amen 

I Martha Washington of Mount Vernon in the 
county of Fairfax being of sound mind and 
capable of disposing of my worldly estate do 
make ordain and declare this to be my last will 
and testament hereby revoking all other wills 
and testaments by me heretofore made. 

Imprimis it is my desire that all my just debts 
may be punctually paid and that as speedily as 
the same can be done. 

Item I give and devise to my nephew Batholo- 
mew Dandridge^ and his heirs my lot in the town 
of Alexandria situate on Pitt and Cameron 
streets devised to me by my late husband George 
Washington deceased. 

Item I give and bequeath to my four neices 
Martha W. Dandridge Mary Dandridge Fran- 
ces Lucy Dandridge and Frances Henley,^ the 
debt of two thousand pounds due from Lawrence 
Lewis and secured by his bond to be equally 
divided between them or such of them as shall 
be alive at my death and to be paid to them 
respectively on the days of their respective mar- 
riage or arrival at the age of twenty one years 
whichsoever shall first happen together with all 


the interest on said debt remaining unpaid at 
the time of my death : and in case the whole or 
any part of the said principal sum of two thou- 
sand pounds shall be paid to me during my 
life then it is my will that so much money be 
raised out of my estate as shall be equal to what 
I shall have received of the said principal debt 
and distributed among my four neices afore- 
said as herein has been bequeathed, and it is 
my meaning that the interest accruing after 
my death on the said sum of two thousand 
pounds shall belong to my said neices and be 
equally divided between them or such of them 
as shall be alive at the time of my death, and 
be paid annually for their respective uses until 
they receive their shares of the principal. 

Item I give and bequeath to my grandson 
George Washington Parke Custis all the silver 
plate* of every kind of which I shall die pos- 
sessed, together with the two large plated cool- 
ers, the four small plated coolers with the bottle 
castors, and a pipe of wine if there be one in 
the house at the time of my death — also the set 
of Cincinnati tea and Table china,^ the bowl 
that has a ship in it, the fine old china jars^ 
which usually stand on the chimney piece in 
the new room: also all the family pictures of 
every sort^ and the pictures painted by his sis- 
ter, and two small skreens worked one by his 
sister and the other a present from miss Kitty 
Brown^ — also his choice of prints^ — 


also the two girandoles and lustres" that stand 
on them — also the new bedstead which I caused 
to be made in Philadelphia together with the 
bed, mattress bolsters and pillows and white 
dimity curtains belonging thereto: also two 
other beds with bolsters and pillows and the 
white dimity window curtains in the new room 
— also the iron chest" and the desk in my closet 
which belonged to my first husband; also all 
my books of every kind except the large bible 
and prayer book, also the set of tea china that 
was given me by Mr. Vanbraam every piece 
having M W on it." 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand daugh- 
ter Elizabeth Parke Law, the dressing table and 
glass that stands in the chamber called the yel- 
low room," and Genl. Washington's picture 
painted by Trumbull. 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand daugh- 
ter Martha Peter my writing table and the seat 
to it^* standing in my chamber, also the print of 
Genl. Washington that hangs in the passage. 

Item I give and bequeath to my grand daugh- 
ter Eleanor Parke Lewis the large looking glass 
in the front Parlour^^ and any other looking 
glass which she may choose — Also one of the 
new side board tables in the new room — also 
twelve chairs with green bottoms to be selected 
by herself also the marble table in the garret, 
also the two prints of the dead soldier," a print 


of the Washington family in a box in the Garret 
and the great chair standing in my chamber;" 
also all the plated ware not hereinafter other- 
wise bequeathed — also all the sheets table linen, 
napkins towels, pillow cases remaining in the 
house at my death, also three beds and bed- 
steads curtains bolsters and pillows for each 
bed such as she shall choose and not herein par- 
ticularly otherwise bequeathed, together with 
counterpens and a pair of blankets for each bed, 
also all the wine glasses and decanters^^ of every 
kind and all the blew and white china in com- 
mon use.^® 

Item it is my will and desire that all the wine 
in bottles in the vaults to be equally divided be- 
tween my grand daughters and grandson to 
each of whom I bequeath ten guineas to buy a 
ring for each. 

Item it is my will and desire that Anna Maria 
Washington the daughter of my niece to be put 
in handsome mourning at my death at the ex- 
pense of my estate and I bequeath to her ten 
guineas to buy a ring.^° 

Item I give and bequeath to my neighbor Mrs. 
Elizabeth Washington^^ five guineas to get some- 
thing in remembrance of me. 

Item I give and bequeath to Mrs. David Stuart 
five guineas to buy her^^ a ring. 

Item I give and bequeath to Benjamin Lincoln 
Lear'^^ one hundred pounds specie to be vested 


in funded stock of the United States immediate- 
ly after my decease and to stand in his name 
as his property, which investment my executors 
are to cause to be made. 

Item When the vestry of the Truro parish shall 
buy a glebe^* I devise will and bequeath that 
my executors shall pay one hundred pounds to 
them to aid of the purchase, provided the said 
purchase be made in my lifetime or within three 
years after my decease. 

Item It is my will and desire that all the rest 
and residue of my estate of whatever kind and 
description not herein specifically devised or 
bequeathed shall be sold by the executors of 
this my last will for ready money as soon after 
my decease as the same can be done and that 
the proceeds thereof together with all the money 
in the house and the debts due to me, (the 
debts due from me and the legacies herein be- 
queathed being first satisfied) shall be invested 
by my executors in eight per cent stock of the 
funds of the United States and shall stand on 
the books in the name of my executors in their 
character of executors of my will; and it is my 
desire that the interest thereof shall be applied 
to the proper education of Bartholomew Henley 
and Samuel Henley the two youngest sons of 
my sister Henley, and also to the education of 
John Dandridge son of my deceased nephew 
John Dandridge so that they may be severally 
fitted and accomplished in some useful trade 


and to each of them who shall have lived to 
finish his education or to reach the age of 
twenty one years I give and bequeath one hun- 
dred pounds to set him up in his trade. 

Item My debts and legacies being paid and the 
education of Bartholomew Henley Samuel Hen- 
ley and John Dandridge aforesaid being com- 
pleted, or they being all dead before the com- 
pletion thereof it is my will and desire that all 
my estates and interests in whatever form ex- 
isting whether in money funded stock or any 
other species of property shall be equally di- 
vided among all the persons hereinafter men- 
tioned who shall be living at the time that the 
interest of the funded stock shall cease to be 
applicable in pursuance of my will herein be- 
fore expressed to the education of my nephews 
Bartholomew Henley Samuel Henley and John 
Dandridge, namely among Anna Maria Wash- 
ington, daughter of my niece and John Dand- 
ridge son of my nephew and all my great grand 
children living at the time that the interest of 
the said funded stock shall cease to be applicable 
to the education of the said B. Henley S. Henley, 
and John Dandridge, and the same shall cease to 
be so applied when all of them shall die before 
they arrive at the age of twenty one years, or 
those living shall have finished their education 
or have arrived at the age of twenty one years, 
and so long as any one of the three lives, who 
has not finished his education or arrived at the 


age of twenty one years, the division of the 
said residuum is to be deferred and no longer. 

Lastly I nominate and appoint my grandson, 
George Washington Parke Custis, my nephews 
Julius B. Dandridge and Bartholomew Dand- 
ridge and my son in law Thomas Peter execu- 
tors of this my last will and testament. In wit- 
ness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
seal this twenty second day of Sept in the year 
eighteen hundred. 


Sealed signed acknowledged and delivered as 
her last will and testament in the presence of 
the subscribing witnesses who have been re- 
quested to subscribe the same as such in her 


March 4th 1802 

I give to my grandson George Washington 
Parke Custis my mulatto man Elish — that I 
bought of mr Butler Washington^^ to him and 
his hair for ever. 




* Martha Washington's Will follows so precisely the form of her 
distinguished husband's that there can be no doubt of that having 
served as the model. It is in the writing of Eleanor Parke 
("Nelly") Custis Lewis, except the title head, which is in a dif- 
ferent hand and seems to have been added later. It is signed by 
Mrs. Washington at the lower right-hand comer of each page 
and dated by her September 22, 1800, nearly one year after the 
General died; she added a codicil, in her own handwriting, 
March 4, 1802. 

The Will is written on both sides of what are commonly called 
folio-size sheets (the General's Will is on quarter-size) and covers 
five pages. This text is exact in every respect. The Will was 
probated in the court for Fairfax County, June 21, 1802. It is now, 
and ever since that date has been, preserved in Fairfax Court 
House, with the exception of a period of fifty-three years between 
1862 and 1915. In the former year the records in Fairfax Court 
House were seriously damaged through military vandalism; but 
Martha Washington's Will escaped by a lucky chance and the 
acquisitive instincts of a lieutenant-colonel of United States troops, 
who kept possession of it. In 1903 the will was purchased from 
the daughter of this officer by Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, of New 
York. In 1914 the state of Virginia moved through the Supreme 
Court of the United States to recover possession of the will as a 
muniment of title and importance to the records of the state. 
Before the case came to an issue however, Mr. Morgan presented 
the will to the President of the Supreme Court of Appeals of 
Virginia, and it was at once returned to Fairfax Court House. 
While in Mr. Morgan's possession the will was repaired and pro- 
tected against further disintegration. The pages were inlaid and 
held together by a binding of ribbon, laced through the left-hand 
margin of the protecting inlay. 

* Bartholomew Dandridge (son of the Bartholomew mentioned 
in the General's Will, who was the brother of Martha) ; he served 
for a time as Secretary to his uncle, while Washington was Presi- 
dent of the United States, and later as his secretary at Mount 
Vernon. He died in 1802. 


' Martha Washington Dandridge, Mary Dandridge, Frances 
Lucy Dandridge and Frances (Dandridge) Henley, were the 
daughters of Bartholomew Dandridge, brother of Mrs. Wash- 

* The Washington plate, every piece of which was marked, 
either with the Washington arms, or crest, or both, has been much 
scattered and many pieces lost. As listed intact in the "Inventory 
&c. of Articles at Mount Vernon" after the General's death (but 
not returned or recorded in the court of Fairfax County until 
1810), it consisted of "44 lb 15 oz Silver plate" and was ap- 
praised at $900. Individually the wine coolers, both large and 
small, were appraised at $60 the pair. The "bottle castors" are 
listed as "4 Bottle Sliders", presumably so named from their 
rollers, and valued at only $4., or one dollar each. The wine and 
other liquors in store at Mount Vernon when the General died 
are not noted in the "Inventory" as they were all devised to Mrs. 
Washington. An impressive amount of the Washington silver 
has been restored to Mount Vernon, and a number of interesting 
pieces, such as a salver, coffee-pot, ladle, wine-cooler and tea- 
spoons are also on loan deposit there. 

' The words "and Table" have been inserted by Mrs. Washing- 
ton. The "Cincinnati china", much of which was destroyed when 
the Union troops took over "Arlington" at the commencement of 
the Civil War, may be described, roughly, as the porcelain known 
as Chinese Lowestoft. It was made in Canton, according to the 
design of Major Samuel Shaw, or at least according to the Chi- 
nese interpretation of his idea, which was a heavy, floriated border 
of Canton blue, with a trumpeting, winged figure in flight, (sup- 
posedly Fame) in the center of each piece. She holds suspended 
in her left hand the Cincinnati eagle emblem. Two of the plates 
are at Mount Vernon, in which the winged figure is in full 
color; but so delicately tinted that the contrast between it and 
the deep blue border is disturbing. The china was purchased for 
the General in the summer of 1786 by Colonel Henry Lee, in 
New York, for about 150 dollars, Washington's accounts showing 
that on August 23 he sent Lee, by the hand of Colonel Humph- 
reys, £45 : 5 : for that purpose. A later letter of acknowledgment 
to Lee, in October, stated that the china had reached Mount 
Vernon, with very little damage. 

® Two of the three "fine old china jars" which usually stand on 
the chimney piece in the "new room" have been restored to 
Mount Vernon, and are now in their accustomed places on the 


Vaughan mantel ("the chimney piece") in the "new room" (so- 
called by Washington from having been the last of the important, 
structural changes in the Mansion). In the "Inventory" these 
seem to have been included in the group of "5 China Jarrs" ap- 
praised in a lump at $100. which approximates $20. for each jar. 
Two jars, not specifically identified in the will, are now at Mount 

^ The "family pictures of every sort" unquestionably means the 
portraits. The screens are impossible to identify. 

* Miss Kitty Brown was, probably, the daughter of Doctor Wil- 
liam Brown of Alexandria. 

° The "prints" (engravings) are listed more or less definitely in 
the "Inventory". Some of them have found their way back to 
Mount Vernon. 

" Girondoles were ornate bracket lamps. These "two giron- 
doles" are listed in the "Inventory" as "2 Elegant Lustres" and 
are appraised at $120. 

" The iron chest belonging to Daniel Parke Custis (Mrs. Wash- 
ington's first husband, and grandfather of George Washington 
Parke Custis) is listed in the "Inventory" with its contents of 
securities (bank stocks, etc.) and other valuables. It is now pre- 
served in the Washington Collection in the United States National 

^^ The "china that was given to me by Mr. Vanbraam every 
piece having MW on it" is not listed in the "Inventory". It 
was presented to Mrs. Washington by Andreas Everardus Van 
Braam Houckgeest, a Pennsylvania merchant, and one of the 
earliest American Chinese traders, who had it made and brought 
it himself from China in 1796. This also is Chinese Lowestoft 
and each piece has an elaborate design in gold and color with the 
cipher in the center surrounded by a burst of gold rays; the 
border is a chain of fifteen links with the name of a state within 
each link. Only a few pieces have survived; two are at Mount 
Vernon; two are in the White House, Washington, D. C; three 
are in the United States National Museum and one is in the 
Metropolitan Museum, New York. This china has been exten- 
sively, but poorly copied. 

'' The Yellow Room now serves as a passageway from the hall 
at the head of the south stair on the second floor, to the center 


hall of the Mansion. This is believed to have been Washington's 
room before the Mansion was enlarged during the Revolutionary 
War. The artist, John Trumbull, who served for a time during 
the Revolution as an aide to Washington, presented the General 
with a complete set of his prints, from his paintings. 

" The "writing table and seat to it" is described in the "In- 
ventory" as "1 Writing Table" appraised at $25. and "1 Writing 
Table Chair" appraised at $2. Both of these pieces have been 
restored to Mount Vernon and are now in the room in which 
the General died. 

" The "large looking glass in the front parlour" is difficult to 
identify. Mount Vernon possesses four of the original mirrors 
owned by Washington. The front parlor is now know as the 
West Parlor. 

" The two prints of "the Dead Soldier" are appraised in the 
"Inventory" at $45. or $22.50 each. 

"The description in the "Inventory" is "1 Easy Chair" ap- 
praised at $10. 

" Wine glasses and decanters are difficult things to identify 
documentarily ; but a number of these pieces have been restored 
to Mount Vernon. 

" Washington made several purchases of china after the Revo- 
lution, and during his Presidency; but these purchases cannot be 
definitely linked with the surviving Mount Vernon china. Several 
pieces of this "blue and white china in common use" are now at 
Mount Vernon. In the "Inventory" the china "in common use" 
may have been that which is mentioned as being "In the Closet 
under Franks direction" at a total appraised value of $36.85. 

'^ These rings were, presumably, mourning rings like those men- 
tioned in the General's Will. Anna Maria Washington was the 
daughter of George Augustine Washington and Frances Bassett. 

" This word has been inserted by Mrs. Washington. 

^^ Elizabeth (Foote) Washington, the wife of Lund Washington. 

'" Benjamin Lincoln Lear (born in 1 792 ) , the son of Tobias 
Lear and Mary Long, Lear's first wife. 


^ The glebe of Truro Parish (Pohick Church) seems not to 
have been purchased within the time limit of the provision of 
the will, as there is no record in the Executors' accounts of the 
payment of this bequest. 

^ Butler Washington, of King George county, Virginia, the 
son of John Washington, of King George, died in 1817. 


University of